Working with Osinbajo, fixing Nigeria for 8 years, great honour — Laolu Akande

Laolu Akande (left), in a relaxed moment with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. (File photo)

By Oluwafemi Popoola

The spokesman of Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Laolu Akande, has said that working closely with his principal for the past eight years is a matter of great honour and privilege to him.

He said having the opportunity to work under President Muhamadu Buhari’s government through the Office of the Vice President was an answer to the prayers he made when he left Nigeria for the United States in 1998.

Akande made this known on Friday, May 19, 2023, during an interview session, “Daily Politics,” on Daily Trust TV, where he reflected on his journey serving as a spokesman to the number-two man in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, just a few days to the end of their tenure on May 29, 2023.

The veteran journalist said it has been a “thrilling” experience for him saying he had always wanted to be part of people that would fix Nigeria and set its feet on the path of progress.

“It has been a very thrilling experience for me. I also consider it a great privilege, and a wonderful opportunity to be able to serve your country, especially at that level, for someone who had always wanted to be part of fixing the country.

“I remember when I left in 1998, to go to the United States, I had a prayer with God, I said I want to come back to Nigeria and work in a government if that government will be a government of serious reform. And when I got the opportunity to do that, I felt that it was an answer to my prayer. So, serving in this eight years at that level and with the Vice President and the President is a great privilege and honour,” Akande said.

Speaking on what made him leave the US and join the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign trail in 2014, the celebrated journalist said Osinbajo was the major factor saying, the VP’s reputation was ahead of him after his successful stint as Lagos State Attorney General for eight years between 1999 to 2007.

His words, “In 2013 and 2014, there was this clamour of somebody like General Buhari would be a very good candidate when they were forming APC, I was part of that hope, expectations and clamour pushing behind the scenes.

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“But in 2014 when the candidate of the APC then picked the Vice President as his running mate, when I heard the news in New York, I tapped my wife in the bedroom and said you know what, I am going to support that guy.”

“I had met him just once before that time in 2012 in New York. Before that time, he had garnered a considerably great reputation as the guy that reformed Lagos judiciary when he was Attorney General from 1999 to 2007 and a lot of what he did became a model for the country.

“So, when I met him in 2012, his reputation was ahead of him. We probably had a five minutes discussion at an award ceremony for him by the Nigerian Lawyers Association in New York, that was our previous meeting.

“When he was picked as a vice presidential candidate, I said look, maybe your prayer is about to be answered, you have to go and support this guy, that was why I came to join the campaign.”

Reminiscing on his earlier career as one of the youngest editors in the 90s, Akande said he began his journalism career with the Guardian Newspaper at a tender age, where he did the one-year compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme after he graduated from the University of Ibadan (UI), and he was retained as a reporter.

“I started in 1989 as a freelance reporter for the Guardian, I was still in school in 1989, up to 1990, then I was posted to the Guardian for my NYSC, so I did my NYSC in Guardian, and they offered me a job even before I finished the NYSC sometime in March as a staff reporter and I was with them up till 1993 when I joined The News which later became the Tempo and maybe 1994 or 1995 and I went to Nigerian Tribune,” Akande said.